My American Identity
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Some history to explain the current situation
Echoes of Communists in Hollywood
political correctness settles over the land
America has fallen into a spiritual funk that is rooted in denial of free speech. It has fallen under the spell of a regime of mandatory thought called “political correctness”. Whites, regardless of their actual conduct, are judged guilty of institutional racism while racially hateful or aggressive conduct by blacks - what might be called “black racism” - has been defined out of existence. The national discourse has stooped to a level of intellectual dishonesty that would have shocked the founding fathers.
Held in the grip of blatant double standards, white people have become demoralized. They are afraid to say what they think on racial subjects. Blacks then accuse them of cowardice and dishonesty. The age of Orwellian double speak has come with a vengeance. The thumb-screw liberals who control the media and higher education allow not a dissenting word to be heard.
Free-thinking individuals continue to exist in our society. The problem is is that political opinion in the community’s opinion-expressing institutions - the news media, education, and religion - has ceased to be diverse. Consequently, a tide of similar thought pours over the society. There is no platform that features free discussion. There is no forum that tolerates a genuine clash of ideas. The name of the game is to capture the platform and impose a uniform set of views.
In our nation’s newsrooms, like-minded individuals maintain an orthodoxy of social and political thinking if insider testimony can be believed. Michael Janeway, former chief editor of the Boston Globe, described how “the politics of the street came into the newsroom ... Suddenly newsrooms had de facto caucuses organized by gender, race, and ethnicity. Suddenly coverage of controversial stories had to be negotiated within the newsroom as well as without.” Michael Barone, a columnist with U.S. News & Report, once told an audience in Minneapolis that “feminist thought police patrol every news room” in America.
The mainstream media have been traditionally liberal. Conservative thought has found a way around that barrier in talk radio. So we have discussion taking place on two different tracks. Each medium catering to a particular audience. No wonder political opinion has become so polarized in this country. Liberals (or progressives) talk only to liberals, and conservatives only to other conservatives. There is no moderating influence that comes from an exchange of differing views. Once the platform has been captured, the parameters are set for what can be said.
It’s worth noting that the struggle within the news media to control the message takes place behind the scenes. The reader has no idea who wrote the editorial or or edited the story giving it a particular slant. Institutional secrecy protects the person or persons responsible for deciding how a story is pitched. This violates the deepest traditions of our nation. We like to think that the processes of democratic decision making are transparent. We cherish the freedoms enunciated in the Bill of Rights, including freedom of speech and religion. Any system of compulsory moral thought is, in effect, a religion. That includes political correctness in its various forms.
We are now a people subjected to rigid and persistent ideological intimidation. How could things have come to this? I do not think that the regime of political correctness could have arisen without the prior experience of communism. Now, I am not saying that today’s proponents of political correctness are communists. Communism is an economic program, and these people are concerned with identity. They are two different sets of issues. Still, the ideologically charged environment in which race relations are discussed needed an historical antecedent to wean Americans from their tradition of fair and honest discussion. It’s not that media bosses are espousing communism, in other words, but that a political line trumps the pursuit of truth. That’s what communism contributed to our politics today.
the Hollywood communists
American communism had its greatest influence in the film industry. The story is told in a book by Ronald and Allis Radosh titled “Red Star over Hollywood: The Film Colony’s long Romance with the Left.” (See summary of this book.) Hollywood is also where Ronald Reagan, the future President, became such a fierce anti-communist. So the story of communists in Hollywood, though brief and insignificant, has broader implications.
This story began when the sons of two top studio executives, Maurice Rapf and Budd Schulberg, accepted invitations to visit the Soviet Union from a communist-front organization, the National Student League, in the summer of 1934. They soon became communists and established cells in southern California. It became chic to belong to the party.
The party’s initial goal was to inject communist themes into film entertainment. The studio bosses were concerned about this both because a serious political message ruins films and because, being Jewish, they feared that a connection between Bolshevism and Jews might be made in the public mind. They were willing to employ communist screenwriters but, with the exception of films such as “Mission to Moscow” made during World War II, kept the political message under control.
As the Cold War began and the American communist party began attacking the Truman administration, communist influence in Hollywood came under scrutiny of the House Un-American Activities Committee. A much-publicized hearing was held in October, 1947, in which Communists employed in the film industry were subpoenaed. Party leaders made light of the proceedings. Fearing a backlash, the studio heads then agreed to fire and not to rehire all known communists working for the studios. That was the start of the “Hollywood blacklist.”
In 1951, the House Un-American Activities Committee held another hearing. This time, it required subpoenaed witnesses to reveal other communists whom they knew in the course of their work. They were required to “rat on their friends”. Some witnesses complied with the committee’s request; others did not. This moral dilemma set the stage for the myth of the “Hollywood Ten”. The party members who refused to turn in their friends became heroes.
The Communist Party was never the same after those hearings. It tried to gain relevance to contemporary politics by supporting the black political struggle. The fight against racism became a new theme of party doctrine. Members now had to be careful not to use racially offensive terms. A former editor of the Daily Worker newspaper observed that the charge of “white chauvinism” became a “weapon” that allowed party members “to settle scores, to climb organizational ladders, to fight for jobs and to express personality conflicts.”
Today, except for the myth of the blacklisted screenwriters, the history of Hollywood communism is mostly forgotten. Yet, this history goes a long way toward explaining how we got to the present situation. Communism may be dead but its spirit lives on in the willingness to subordinate truth to political power.
truth gives way to the party line
At one time, one would imagine, intellectually curious Americans debated issues of the day. They were willing to be convinced by superior arguments. That’s how we want to believe a free society operates. The communist experience changed that. Instead of acknowledging truth, communists adhered to the party line. If they said something out of line, they might be disciplined by party officials such as the cultural commissar, V.J. Jerome. The party’s “truths” shifted from one position to another in response to changing political circumstances. Communists supported one policy when Stalin signed a nonaggression pact with Hitler, and another after Hitler attacked the Soviet Union. Implausible arguments were offered to support the current line.
Political correctness is like a party line. One cannot have an open-minded discussion of race. Instead, people are locked into certain positions. There is, actually, only one permissible position - the “anti-racist” one. Someone who disagrees with that position is a “racist” - a term which carries with it the historical baggage of enslavement, lynchings, and segregated public facilities. Only whites can be racist according to the prevailing theory; blacks, being victims, are incapable of that sin. If people say something racially offensive, they must grovel before their critics, recant, and say, “I am not a racist”. Public discourse has come to this. It reminds one of how the Communist bosses treated political deviants.
Another point of similarity between Hollywood communism and today’s regime of political correctness is that the struggle of ideas does not take place through open debate but through messages emanating from institutions. In the 1930s, the film industry was such an institution. Millions of Americans watched movies expecting to be entertained. The communists had the idea of infiltrating this industry so they could slip a political message into the films. By repetition, the public would cumulatively absorb and accept a certain line of thinking.
Today, journalism is on the front lines of political persuasion. There are respected newspapers such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Wall Street Journal. There are mass-circulation magazines such as Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News & World Report, and the three main television networks: CBS, NBC, and ABC. Liberals have the edge in some media; conservatives in others. There are also cable-television networks catering to various points of view.
So is everything now balanced and fair? Hardly. Today’s public discourse does not feature individuals persuadable to other points of view but spokespersons for particular views. Which view will be expressed depends on the forum. In each forum, political partisans push their message through sympathetic editors and reporters. The Hollywood communists would have understood the situation well.
persuasion by building the brand
Lenin recognized the power of the visual media, motion pictures being their first fruit. When television came along, advertisers learned to sell products by presenting attractive lifestyle images that were repeated often and in a variety of ways. This was how consumers were “persuaded” to buy something. The object was to establish a strong brand name. One knew what to expect in a product later to be seen on a store shelf.
The same technique applies to political persuasion. Here types of people are shown in negative or positive roles with the idea of establishing moral stereotypes. White people who identify with their race have become associated with the stereotype of the Ku Klux Klan member in frightening garb or the southern white sheriff who bullies black people. Through repetition of stories, the white “racist” becomes associated with lynching defenseless blacks. The “anti-Semite” likewise becomes associated with Hitler and the slaughter of Jews in concentration camps. These images and themes are repeated until the intended connections are made. That is how the visual media persuade. They create a brand.
Advertising gurus say that a sale is made after seven different impressions. Therefore, the marketers of products advertise often and in a variety of media. At some point, the mind lowers its intellectual defenses. The more times a person sees the same message, the more deeply it will sink in.
In politics, persuasion takes the form of a vast, repetitious effort to create horrifying images in history and attach them to certain types of people. With respect to anti-Semitism, the definitive image is the Nazi concentration camp with gaunt inmates and piles of stacked bones. Racism consists of white slave-masters whipping black slaves, white lynch mobs, the Ku Klux Klan parading in front of a burning cross, and Bull Connor sicking German-shepherd dogs on peaceful Civil Rights protestors. To build those images, we have high-school history classes, newspaper or magazine features, television dramas, feature-length films, museum exhibits, and holidays honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Black History Month, and Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Once political brand is established, an association with it can be used to cast other subjects in a certain light. For example, the “Nazi” brand has been linked to the philosophy of eugenics (the idea that the human species can be improved through selective breeding of persons with desirable traits). The German Nazis believed in eugenics and put their beliefs into practice in gruesome ways. Although many other persons besides Nazis also believed in this approach, the public is persuaded that eugenics programs are inherently Nazi and should be rejected for that reason.
Not too long ago, there was an exhibit at a science museum that made the connection between eugenics and the Nazis. There have been college courses, or courses that history high-school teachers are required to take as part of their continuing-education requirement, that have done the same. If a “science museum” exhibit makes the connection between Nazism and eugenics, then that connection must, of course, be “scientific”. Likewise, what the teacher says would be “true” in a practical sense if students wish to pass the course. We can see that someone wishing to oppose the program of eugenics need not win the argument in an open debate. He need only smear it through association with Nazis and then persuade someone to put on a course or stage a museum exhibit that expresses this point of view. He need only “capture” a forum.
Besides persuasion through television and films, there is the kind that appeals to the intellect. Education deals in reasoned arguments. But let’s not get our hopes up too high. Most college courses in the humanities are believed to be slanted toward a liberal point of view. From a political perspective, the critical factor is which faculty members get hired and who receives tenure. Department heads tend to promote persons with views similar to their own.
dismiss your opponents' views
Jacques Barzun once published a book in which he complained of the type of education found in today’s universities. The gist of his argument, according to a reviewer, was that “American universities are more disordered than ever. Many students who wished to destroy the university are now tenured. They are middle-aged but their radicalism is juvenile. Opposed though they were to the narrow, bureaucratic specialized university, they have become even more specialized than those they criticized. Their university means nothing to them ... Their departments mean nothing to them except as safe havens for others of the same viewpoints and the same narrowness. Only administrators are left to care about the whole university, but they are busy raising funds.”
This relates particularly to attitudes about race. Today’s tenured professors are often persons who grew up in the Civil Rights era. They cherish its memory and may even have played a part in the movement themselves. It is not surprising, then, that today’s college curricula are full of courses in black studies, women’s studies, Holocaust studies, and the like. The “right” answer to questions raised in such courses would be what the professor thinks is right. In fact, it’s even worse. The preferred method of winning arguments in some academic settings is to silence the other person rather than discuss.
The columnist, George Will, traces this tactic to Columbia University historian Richard Hofstadter. “The tactic,” he wrote, “is to dismiss rather than refute those with whom you disagree.” Dismiss means not to respond. The other person’s position is presumably so ridiculous that one would not care to dignify it with a response. And if you hold the megaphone, as editors do in newspapers or professors do in the classroom, that strategy prevails: Ignore dissenting views. Rely on your institutional prestige to suggest that you are the authority and your critics are ill-informed. The megaphone is in your hands, after all.
This has set the stage for today’s politics of demonization. The first line of defense is to ignore your adversary. React to his opposing views with silence. If that does not work, the second line is to demonize him. Call him a “racist” or an “anti-Semite”. Use emotionally loaded words like “rant” or “spew vile slurs” - these are actual words or phrases used in a recent Star Tribune opinion article - to describe his argument. Ask him to apologize for his remarks. Ask him to resign his position; and, if he will not, try to get him fired. Demand all this in the name of human decency. Sound familiar?
It should sound familiar because the Hollywood communists employed those tactics. Although venomous ad hominem attacks have been employed throughout our political history, they were taken to a new level in the confrontation between communists and their opponents in the 1940s. The Hollywood party leader, John Howard Lawson, referred to “a parade of stool-pigeons, neurotics, publicity-seeking clowns, Gestapo agents,” in testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Persons who disagreed with the communist program were routinely accused of “red-baiting.” Now, of course, the word “communist” has itself been used in a similar way by anti-communists. Name calling, used to cinch the argument, has often been a substitute for reason.
There is another similarity between the situation today and that sixty-five years ago. After Hitler invaded Russia in 1941, American communists switched from attacking President Roosevelt to a message of patriotism. Since the United States and Soviet Union were allies in the fight against Hitler, their common interest was to win the war. The communist line was that the party’s agenda was also the nation’s. After the war was won and Harry Truman became president, the Cold War began. The American communists now argued that the new President was adopting policies of “nascent fascism” while they had remained true to the principles of Roosevelt. By implication, President Truman was betraying the U.S. national interest. They, the communist party, were Franklin D. Roosevelt’s political heirs. The American people did not buy that idea.
The parallel I now see to that situation is the idea that the “white racist” - someone who hates or despises black people - and the “anti-Semite” - specifically an enemy of Jews - is or should be a universal pariah. All Americans should embrace the black people’s fight against white racism and the Jewish struggle against anti-Semitism. What’s good for me is good for everyone, in other words. If you’re a Bulgarian, on the other hand, you’re on your own. You fight your own fights and don’t expect others to help you.
the power to record history and keep it alive
It is important to realize that history is what the writers of history choose to make of it rather than a complete record of what actually happened. Journalists have control over the initial presentation. They can decide, first, how to write a particular story, giving it a moral focus. They can then choose where to place it in the newspaper and decide how much space to give. They can repeat a story by mentioning it in another story, or by running an editorial about it, or by having columnists mention it. A story repeated often enough can be made to seem a significant part of the historical record.
One story that has been repeated quite frequently was the killing of three Civil Rights workers - Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman - near Philadelphia, Mississippi, on June 21, 1964. Their story was told, for instance, in the 1988 film, “Mississippi Burning”. Another such event was the agonizing death of a black man in Texas, James Byrd, who was dragged for three miles by a pickup truck on June 7, 1998. Three white men committed that murder. The Texas legislature enacted the James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Act in May 2001 in response to the heinous crime. Both sets of killings had a racial aspect. Both received prominent coverage in newspapers.
However, tens of thousands of murders have taken place in the United States over the years. Many have involved perpetrators and victims of different races. Between October 2nd and October 22nd, 2002, for instance, two black men, Lee Boyd Malvo and John Allen Muhammad, went on a shooting spree in the Washington, D.C. area in which ten persons were killed and two others were wounded. Muhammad’s plan, according to court testimony, was to kill six white people a day for 30 days, then kill police officers, and finally extort a large sum of money from the U.S. government before fleeing to Canada.
Admittedly, this story received much publicity at the time, especially when the killers were still unidentified and on the loose, but it seems lately to have been forgotten. No films have been made about it, and no legislation was passed. Perhaps newspaper editors, film producers, and politicians are not interested in stories of black-on-white violence, but only in those which support their own stereotype. If a motion picture is made, one cannot even be sure that Malvo and Muhammad will not be portrayed as heroes rather than mass murderers.
So we have a politics in which white people are perceived as being prone to committing violent acts against blacks and black people are perceived to be victims because of the way that news events are reported. In fact, crime statistics show that blacks commit proportionately many more violent crimes than whites. Admittedly, most black killings involve other blacks. But is it any less tragic for people to be killed in ways that do not interest the news reporters?
The experience of communists in Hollywood is relevant here because of their intimate relationship with the media. The party members and their friends were members of a profession that was able to shape history. As intellectuals employed in film and television media, they could control the image of events. Therefore, when people today mention the “blacklisted Hollywood writers”, it is generally with sympathy. The inquiries of the House Un-American Activities Committee have produced heroines like Lillian Hellman, who refused to inform on her colleagues, and villains like Elia Kazan who succumbed to the pressure. The Hollywood Ten are seen today as talented artists who were persecuted for their political beliefs by a public that understood little of justice or art.
The story was more complicated than that. In fact, the Communist Party bungled its performance in the 1947 hearings. Party members might individually have said, “Yes, I’m a communist”, and been done with it. Instead, the party insisted that its membership be kept secret. It treated the HUAC hearings as a farce. That arrogant stance forced the studio chiefs to make their fateful decision to fire known communists and thereafter to blacklist them. The United States was then in a cold war with the Soviet Union. Those chiefs were not stupid.
The 1951 hearings were a different matter. The new element then was that witnesses would be required to name others whom they knew to be communists. Because the studios were now refusing to employ communists, that meant that the named persons would lose their jobs in Hollywood or never find one there. The decision therefore became personal. A witness who refused to answer the questions might be jailed for contempt of Congress; or, if he did answer, he would harm a personal friend and then be reviled as a snitch and a traitor by the liberal-left community.
Today communism is an embarrassment to the types of people who might once have been attracted to its philosophy. It is not often discussed. We are left only with the impression that the blacklisted artists might have been victims of McCarthyism. In hindsight, however, the Hollywood communists who professed innocence were not misunderstood liberals but persons who did conspire to help Stalin. There were, in fact, Soviet spies in America. To be honest, few, if any, of the Hollywood communists engaged in espionage or used force against the U.S. government. Party members were mainly a group of dilettantes, stooges of Stalin, who vainly hoped he would put them in power.
a subliminal influence on the present
Looking back on that era, one is struck by how strange those people’s concerns seem to us today. They took their ideas seriously. We do not. I think that’s because America has passed into the age of television where we expect to be entertained. We’ve given up on projects to save the world. The ideological disputes that raged in the ‘30s and ‘40s seem remote. Franklin D. Roosevelt, a towering figure in his time, now seems an alien figure. Concerns about organized labor have faded.
I have the impression that America’s recent historical consciousness begins with the Truman administration. If American history is told through the medium of television, then President Kennedy is a key figure. We remember his vibrant personality and, of course, his assassination. Also, in the infancy of this medium, the Civil Rights movement began to blossom. So the iconic images of our history are televised scenes of racial protest in the south and the triumphal oratory of Dr. Martin Luther King.
Beneath all that, however, lies the structure of discourse that frames issues of gender and race. It’s like the dim memories of childhood when our personalities were set in a certain way. That’s why the history of communism still matters. Events from that era set a tone for subsequent discussions of race. They established the mechanisms by which the discussion would take place. There would be a more selective kind of journalism. Only certain parts of the story would be told. The decision-making process would be kept secret. Secrecy was a communist trademark whose practice has continued to this day. The use of front organizations to misrepresent the identity of communists and mask their activity is related to this.
After blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo quit the Communist Party in the spring of 1956, he wrote a memo questioning the wisdom of keeping memberships secret in a society that allowed political parties to compete openly for support. This party was, he wrote, “the only organization I know of that has, for over three decades, maintained the general secrecy of its membership regardless of external political circumstances and apparently on a permanent basis.” The party’s policy of secret members had been a disaster. Either the Hollywood members, wrote Trumbo, “should have been open Communists, or they should not have been members at all.”
I would suggest that media secrecy today has also been a disaster. We need greater transparency in the process of selecting stories. Whose agendas are being served in the selection of “news” that the public is allowed to see? If there is bias in the reporting of gender or race relations, who is behind it? Let the editors and reporters identify themselves. Do their personal opinions influence their journalistic decisions?
As Tom Hayden explained it in his C-SPAN interview, the Civil Rights movement was essentially a “Christian religious movement with heavy Jewish input from the north.” Rev. Martin Luther King and his colleagues were southern Christian clergy with ties to clergy in the north. The northern clergy at that time were wrestling with issues of religious tolerance. Barriers were breaking down between Christian denominations. Jews were meanwhile entering elite colleges in greater numbers. They held top positions in the media, labor unions, and business. Jews tended to sympathize with blacks because Hitler’s white-supremacist views created a natural affinity. They, too, had been victims of social discrimination.
Meanwhile, in the affluent society of the ‘50s and ‘60s, college attendance was soaring. Student idealism was on the rise. The unions were struggling for economic and social justice. The religious righteous were looking for action. All those forces tended to work to the disadvantage of the relatively poor southern states with their aristocratic pretensions and their clinging to lost glory. Anti-racist crusaders from the north descended upon them with a fury not seen since Reconstruction days.
The white southerners had their own story. That story goes back to the Civil War era when a less well-equipped, numerically inferior Confederate army, led by a gallant general, fought the Northern army to a standstill for several years before being defeated. It goes back to the Reconstruction era when the defeated South was humiliated by vindictive Northern politicians and carpet-bagging profiteers, uneducated blacks were put in positions of authority over whites, and unscrupulous politicians looted state treasuries. Some semblance of decency and order was restored when southern whites regained control. That was the story told in films like “Birth of a Nation”.
fight racism to remain competitive with global communism
The communist element again enters the picture. It is known that the FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover, had Martin Luther King under surveillance because the bureau believed that Dr. King was associating with known communists. The FBI would legitimately have been concerned if Civil Rights leaders were linked to persons plotting violently to overthrow the U.S. Government or if they were spying for or otherwise conspiring with communist governments. It was the time of the Cold War. Stalin, however, was dead. The Korean war had come to an end. By the time that Martin Luther King achieved prominence, the subversive threat of communism had largely subsided. The fear had not.
Even so, the U.S. government was still engaged in an ideological struggle against international communism. Newly formed nations in Africa and Asia were led by persons of color. A continuing accusation leveled against the United States was that it was treating its black citizens poorly. And now blacks in the south were rising up against segregationist rule. People around the world were following that development.
In 1953, the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed racial segregation in public schools. When, in 1957, a group of black students wanted to enter Little Rock High School against the wishes of the white population, President Eisenhower had to make a decision. He decided to send federal troops to the south to enforce desegregation. Eisenhower, a father figure, enjoyed great moral authority among all Americans. His decision made all the difference in tipping the balance toward support of black Civil Rights.
One of the reasons motivating Eisenhower was a need to deal with arguments that communists and their Third World allies were making against the United States that this country oppressed and discriminated against its black citizens. The President wanted to remove that ideological weapon used against America in the Cold War. Foreign-policy requirements thus overrode a long-standing reluctance to interfere with social arrangements in the southern states.
speech becomes stigmatized
The communists bequeathed another legacy. The party focused its attention less on what people did than what they thought. Unlike the Bolsheviks, the American communists did not attempt insurrections against the state. Members were instead held to upholding “correct” opinions laid down by the party leaders. This set a precedent for subsequent times.
To its great credit, the U.S. government never outlawed the Communist Party. It has always been legal to belong to organizations that advance ideas. The government did, however, punish communists who were engaged in espionage. The difference between thought and action is critical. At the first HUAC hearing, Ronald Reagan testified that he preferred opposing communist “lies” not by making belief in them illegal but by refuting them with superior evidence. That position was consistent with the American tradition of free speech.
Today, in contrast, political pressures have been directed toward making certain kinds of thoughts illegal. We have the concept of a “hate crime”. A criminally violent act can be punished more severely if accompanied by hateful expressions directed against a particular group. Recently, the government of Argentina expelled a Catholic priest because he denied the Holocaust. In contrast to such practices, most thought has remained legal in the United States even though the news media has done its best to persuade the public that certain kinds of thoughts are vile and no self-respecting person could possibly have them.
In any event, our community “values” today seem more concerned with policing political thought - in particular, finding expressions of bigotry - than with policing violent behavior. Our public discourse takes on a moralistic tone echoing what the nanny-like newspaper editors think is good for people to believe. With such messages repeated over time, community opinion tends to follow their line of thought.
Deep in the psyche of a free society is the idea that that crime and punishment are reserved for actions that palpably hurt other people. Emotionally hurtful or uncomfortable speech should not not a crime. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is a ditty I learned as a boy. In the past several decades, however, that principle has come under attack. While Americans are not thrown into prison for what they believe, they can certainly lose their jobs or be subject to other kinds of pressures if the wrong opinions are expressed.
the protected class
The politics of gender and race has also led to the concept of a “protected class”. Departing from the principle of “equal justice under the law”, the law protects certain types of persons on the basis of their birth-determined characteristics more than it protects others. When the U.S. Supreme Court upheld race-based preferences for admission to the University of Michigan in 2003, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, writing for the majority, admitted that such preferences “offend” the Constitution; but for reasons of social and political expedience they were allowed. As a concession to legality, Justice O’Connor supposed that a time limit might be set on the preferences - perhaps twenty-five years.
I trace this idea of morally preferred groups back to the communist theme of class struggle. Workers and farmers, who worked with their hands, were said to be struggling to overcome domination by bankers and businessmen. Marxist history featured a struggle for power between those two morally differentiated groups. In like manner, we have black people and other minorities struggling for power against white people and the types of society that favor them. We have women struggling against patriarchal structures. We have various other innocent people seeking justice in an evil society dominated by that residual population associated with white males.
This political scheme is inspired by a dualistic history in which the forces of good battle the forces of evil and in the end are successful. It is always one group of people (blacks, women) who are good; and another group (whites, men) who are bad. Such a view can be traced back to the Manichaean and Judaic religions and to the prophet Zoroaster. In truth, reality does not work that way. Will humanity ever learn?
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